Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental illness that gives a massive physical, emotional, and economic burden to those who suffer from it. It affects those who have suffered trauma due to abuse, accidents, disaster, and those who have experienced emotional losses. Individuals who experience PTSD also spend the most on healthcare because of misdiagnosis, given that these people exhibit a wide array of symptoms.
Nowadays, not only do PTSD patients undergo in-house therapy but also given aids to alleviate their condition in the slightest way possible. One of these methods is assigning a service dog. Service dogs aid in the mitigation of mental health symptoms.
The need for service animals started in Germany during World War I. Other countries such as Switzerland, Great Britain, and the United States followed the system soon after.
After World War II, veterans started getting paired with service animals. However, it was not until 2015 when the US Department of Veteran Affairs studied canine companionship.
Specific characteristics make service dogs the ideal companion for those with PTSD. Seattle-based Rover, an organization of pet sitters and dog walkers, shared that service dogs have social skills and are nonjudgmental. They have abilities such as fetching for its owner’s medication when needed and watching out for panic attacks.
Rover also added that not only do service dogs help with PTSD but also with preventing their masters from other harmful acts such as substance abuse. They also aid in their human partners’ mission to make their lives better than before.
Because of the proven benefits of owning service dogs, many organizations around the US opened services that assign dogs to humans. However, Rover advises speaking with a psychologist or psychiatrist first.
In the case of veterans, they should consult a local Department of Veteran Affairs. The step is essential for getting assigned a service dog.